Montana Outdoors

February 20, 2009

Wildflower season 2009

It will be wildflower season again…. soon!

Today, when I again visited the home of the first Buttercup of the new year, I was pleased to discover that it wasn’t just a fluke: the Buttercups are indeed starting to bloom! I know it will be awhile before most of the other flowers begin to bloom, but maybe they will be earlier this year too.

Last night and into the small hours of this morning, I went through my Flickr files and formed a set of the wildflowers of western Montana that I photographed and many folks had the patience to look at last year, over 400 of them.

Flickr has a nice way of displaying thumbnail pictures of all of the photos in a set on one page and making each thumbnail “clickable”. This set may be found here: Wildflowers of western Montana.

Last summer I spent many hours identifying as many of them as I could and would appreciate help in identifying the others. I hope this collection will be helpful to someone attempting to ID wildflowers, or at least enjoyable to those who enjoy looking at wildflower photos.

Here are some of the Buttercups in bloom today:






  1. I think it will be awhile before our first wildflower, the snowdrop, blooms. But tonight we’re having snow flakes, so I guess I won’t complain. At least a fresh blanket of white will hide all the dirty grays. 🙂


    Comment by Bo — February 20, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

  2. Bo,

    I saw that storm just skirted us to the east and headed your way. Actually, we could use a lot more snow in the mountains over the next two or three months. I’m anxious for spring, but I’d like to see a deep snowpack too!


    Comment by montucky — February 20, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

  3. The buttercups are so pretty, even if they are tiny. I can hardly wait for our snowdrops to bloom. There should be some witch hazel trees in bloom right about now, but I have not gone out looking. I expect the winter honeysuckles will bloom in another week or two at most. I love flowers in the snow. Nature is amazing.


    Comment by Tabbie — February 20, 2009 @ 10:40 pm

  4. Tabbie,

    I always get excited when I see Buttercups: they are the first to bloom here. I bet you look forward to the snowdrops (I looked them up: they don’t grow here). I guess we’re all like kids on an Easter egg hunt when the flowers begin to bloom, aren’t we!

    We always see snow on the Buttercups, which are followed by yellow bells. Last year we had a high country snow in mid June, and then there was snow on lots of wildflowers.


    Comment by montucky — February 20, 2009 @ 10:59 pm

  5. I just wrote a blog post about this. I’m so delighted and envious of your buttercups! And I really think you could publish a book with your wildflower photos.


    Comment by Patia — February 21, 2009 @ 12:25 am

  6. Patia,

    Thanks so much for the post on A Drivel Runs Through it! That was very kind! I hope folks will visit and find a use for the photos!

    I have been considering doing a small book on wildflowers, but there would be a huge amount of work involved, which might be a good project for next winter. I’d like to identify many more, photograph some that I don’t have, and do the right research so I could include interesting information about each of them.


    Comment by montucky — February 21, 2009 @ 9:25 am

  7. montucky, Buttercups always remind me of “Kim Williams” in Missoula. She did commentaries on public radio for over 10 years. She was one of my favorite people. Click here for an “ode to St. Kim”.


    Comment by Maureen — February 21, 2009 @ 9:41 am

  8. Here in my part of NC we have seen some of our cherry trees in full bloom for the last several weeks. We always seem to have a false spring and then killer cold returns and all the beautiful blooms are gone. I’m seeing daffodils blooming in the woods and crocuses opening. Love the bits of cheerful yellows brightening up the winter landscape but I’m not ready to let go of winter yet.


    Comment by SuzieQ — February 21, 2009 @ 10:11 am

  9. Hey Maureen, thanks for the link. I’m a belated fan of Kim Williams and own two of her books. I even dug up a collection of her NPR recordings at the Mansfield Library — what a character she was!


    Comment by Patia — February 21, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

  10. little beauties!


    Comment by Sumedh Prasad — February 21, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

  11. How nice to see more in bloom. Spring may be closer but here in the Adirondacks we’re getting a forecast of from 4-12″ of snow tomorrow late in the day. It won’t last long now, though!


    Comment by Cedar — February 21, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

  12. Do you happen to have a photo of Mission Falls in your
    collection? I plan on getting down there one day, but would like to see it before I do.


    Comment by Steve — February 21, 2009 @ 10:09 pm

  13. The first flowers of the season bring with them a gentle magic of hope.



    Comment by knightofswords — February 22, 2009 @ 10:45 am

  14. Maureen,

    Thanks! That was very nice to read! I was not familiar with her, perhaps because during those days I was still in Arizona wishing I could be in Montana. I clicked on Lowbagger home page but I didn’t see anything newer than November 2008. Are they still functioning?


    Comment by montucky — February 22, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

  15. SuzieQ,

    NC is much further along with spring than we are here. We will have those thing to look forward to in about a month to six weeks. Now you’ll really get me going when you start talking about Azaleas! I’ll never forget the time I was able to take in the Azalea Festival in Wilmington!


    Comment by montucky — February 22, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  16. Sumedh,

    I think they’re pretty too, and they are the symbol of the change to spring in these parts.


    Comment by montucky — February 22, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  17. Cedar,

    I’d sure like to have that snow here. The Buttercups would survive and we could sure use some more snow!


    Comment by montucky — February 22, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

  18. Steve,

    No, I’m sorry but I don’t. I am going to try to get over there this summer some time though.

    Thanks for visiting!


    Comment by montucky — February 22, 2009 @ 12:38 pm

  19. Malcolm,

    They sure do that! Yesterday was a bright, clear day, and My friend Sara and I visited that area again for a wonderful hike and found even more blooming, some with the previous night’s frost still on them.


    Comment by montucky — February 22, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  20. Wow, you’re seeing buttercups already. I’m jealous. Here in Pennsylvania, we’re still a good 4-6 weeks from the first wildflowers of the season. So I am left to still go back through last year’s images and reflect. I must say that you’ve captured the harbingers of spring in your buttercup images. Thanks!


    Comment by edvatza — February 22, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  21. edvatza,

    So far, just a few and they are way early this year, along with other signs of spring. I am so looking forward to spring, but we really need a few more good snows yet, not that I have a choice.

    Thanks for visiting!


    Comment by montucky — February 22, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

  22. I’ve been doing a bit more snooping around your blog and find that we share many common interests including wildflowers. Just wanted to let you know that I added your blog as a link in my blogroll. Hope you don’t mind.


    Comment by edvatza — February 22, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

  23. Ed,

    I’m very pleased that you did! Coincidentally, I just added you to mine as well. I very much admire your photos, and we do indeed share many common interests!



    Comment by montucky — February 22, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

  24. I was thinking today about my son’s wildflower project last year. we are definitely seeing signs of spring, lots of clover and “wildflowers” aka weeds(!) already. I am sure that your wildflower catalog will be helpful.


    Comment by silken — February 26, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

    • I think it would be great if it would help! I don’t know how many wildflowers we have in common between our two areas though.


      Comment by montucky — February 26, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

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